Richard Keen, 7th Field Ambulance

The story of Private Richard "Dick" Gawith Keen, is also the story of the 7th Australian Field Ambulance during the First World War.

His portrait was located in a seemingly unrelated collection in the State Library of Queensland, as part of the Q ANZAC 100 team's activities.

He was assigned to A-Section, Tent Subdivision, commanded by the very capable Lt. Colonel (Surgeon) Robert Huxtable, supported by Captains (Doctors) Ernest Culpin and Augustus Kelsey.

1st Australian General Hospital

Herbert Homer & Dick Keen, Enoggera encampment, 23rd May 1915

A-Section7th Field AmbulanceHerbert William

7th Australian Field Ambulance, Gallipoli

In July 1916 the Australian forces were heavily involved in the bloody engagement at FROMELLES, followed by offensives at POZIERES and MOUQUET FARM, in six weeks they suffered approx. 28,000 casualties.

Australian stretcher bearers, Pozieres 1916

There are several collections of diaries and letters, held by the State Library of Queensland that describe these events first hand ... including those by Sergeant Robert Brett and Private Charles Lawrie both of the 25th Infantry Battalion.

Unit War Diary, August 1916

On the 26th August they received an urgent request to relieve the 5th Field Ambulance bearers who had been on duty continuously for 13 days. 63 bearers were sent to CHALK PIT, roads were impassable for motorised vehicles, heavy artillery fire resulted in killing 8 bearers with one shell as they moved near to the firing line.

Dick married Beatrice Annie Mansbridge in 1928 in Perth, the daughter of the distinguished Colonel W.O. Mansbridge who was awarded the DSO for his actions on the day of the landing on Gallipoli 25th April 1915.

Further reading:

Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland


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Richard Keen was my grandfather. Pretty excited to see his story here. My mother has told me stories about his service and I found this while doing research. Mum lives in Coolangatta and her sister lives in Woolongong

Amazing .... Herbert William Homer is my 3rd gen cousin I have His early life facts prior to emigrating to Austarila ...Born Kington in Herefordshire UK worked for the Railway here in the UK .....

Dear David, I am currently researching descendants of Herbert William Homer on behalf of Queensland Museum - if you could please contact Queensland Museum via email address that would be extremely helpful. Many thanks, Caroline